Keep it Simple


Are you someone who has challenges getting organized no matter how hard you try?  My next few posts will focus on providing tips to help you.

My first tip is to keep your systems as simple as possible.  We tend to develop complicated systems based on something we’ve read or seen.  They may be great for someone else, but hard for you to maintain. The most important thing is that it works for YOU.   Here’s a few examples of simplicity:

1) Do you have trouble filing papers?  Instead of developing a complicated filing system with lots of folders, consider having just 12 folders labeled January-December.  Keep all the papers for each month in the appropriate folder.  This month you would put all papers in the “March” folder.   Next year at the start of March, you would review the contents of the “March” folder and determine if you need to keep any of the documents from last year.  You may find it easier to get rid of documents if it’s been a full year since you’ve looked at them.

12 month filing

2)  Do you have trouble getting clean laundry put away?  Rather than worrying about getting your clothes into closets and dressers, you could keep them in bins or baskets. Perhaps you could have separate baskets for pants, shirts, socks and undies.  Remember – the objective of being organized is to find what you need when you need it.  Having tidy closets might be nice, but isn’t necessary to be organized.

3) Do you have trouble getting things done?  Maybe you have to-do lists on several different note pads as well as your phone.  Maybe you don’t have a list at all.  To get started, find a brightly colored index card or sticky note and write NO MORE THAN 3-5 things each day that are your highest priority.  A white board can also work for your daily to-do list. The key is to reconsider and rewrite your list every day to highlight your highest priorities.

Easy To Do List

4) Do you have tons of clothes and have trouble figuring out what to wear?   Keep you wardrobe simple and organize around one neutral color – black, brown, or blue.  My neutral color is brown.  It both reduces the amount of clothes and accessories I need and makes it easier to organize outfits.

5) Another way to simplify your wardrobe is to hang an outfit together. Yes – the prevailing wisdom is to mix and match tops and bottoms.  But, if you find you’re always wearing the same combination, it might be simpler to just hang the outfit together.  You can even hang the coordinating jewelry in a small bag with the outfit. Picking out what to wear in the morning will be quick and easy.


6) When helping my clients declutter their homes, I often find lots of papers and items that they want to keep as “memories”.  Certainly there are lots of creative ways to store memories including shadowboxes and scrap-booking.  But, the simplest solution I have found is to use a decorative box to gather all memories together.   You can even have boxes for different people or events in your life.  When you have the time and inclination, you’ll know where to find your memories to do something more elaborate.

Memory Box

I hope these tips help you get more organized!


Cathy Dryden

I am Cathy Dryden, and I started neat chic organizing to empower others to lead more fulfilling lives by helping them to become more organized through individualized coaching and training.


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